Doctors fail to provide pregnant women with smoking cessation advice

While it's widely known that smoking can cause a number of negative health complications, the list grows longer when it pertains to pregnant women. Expectant mothers can put their unborn children at risk of low birth weight and behavioral problems by choosing to smoke during pregnancy, according to Smokefree Women. However, it can be challenging for individuals to quit, even after they find out they're going to have a baby. The nicotine in cigarettes can be addictive and difficult to live without once it's in a user's system.

Now, new research suggests that physicians may be able to play a critical role in helping expectant mothers say no to tobacco products. A study published in the American Journal of Health Promotion shows that medical experts who exercise the five A's with their patients - Ask, Advice, Assess, Assist, and Arrange - might help them realize the dangers of cigarettes and quit.

The researchers analyzed audio recordings of doctors speaking to pregnant patients about smoking. They found that while some addressed a couple of the A's, none went through all five.

“Very few of the providers we observed performed the recommended Five A's related to successful patient smoking cessation,” Judy Chang, a physician-researcher with Magee-Womens Research Institute and lead investigator of the study, told Futurity. “Instead, providers seemed more likely to give patients some general information on smoking and smoking cessation, but very rarely did they assess patients' motivations and barriers to quitting, provide assistance with specific strategies or resources for smoking cessation, or arrange specific follow-up to monitor cessation efforts and progress.”

Previous studies have shown that going through each of the five A's can evoke the motivation to quit.

How have you avoided cigarettes from your first trimester up until your due date as a smoker? Do you have any motivational factors that helped you along the way? Leave your feedback in the comments section!